[Humanist] 26.637 XML & what kind of scholarship

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Dec 31 08:37:26 CET 2012


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 637.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                              www.dhhumanist.org/
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>                      (28)
        Subject: Re:  26.634 XML & what kind of scholarship

  [2]   From:    "Holly C. Shulman" <hcs8n at virginia.edu>                  (208)
        Subject: Re:  26.627 XML & what kind of scholarship


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 11:09:54 -0500
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re:  26.634 XML & what kind of scholarship
        In-Reply-To: <20121230093748.476742D79 at digitalhumanities.org>


Desmond:

Why the word "interpretation" rather than "translation," at least in the
simple cases? I can see more complex cases being more interpretive.

Jim R

James,
>
> > When you say that "the result is exactly the same," I take it that you mean
> > the result to be the display of italic script on either a computer
> < screen or in a printed document.
>
> No, I meant the encoded characters themselves.
>
> This small example - turning an italic print word into its XML
> equivalent - was meant to illustrate that converting an analog source
> into digital form is an act of interpretation. But some might ask "why
> does it matter?" It might not matter much here, but it does in more
> complex cases, as with variant structures, segments of text that are
> wrapped with <seg> to facilitate their connections to other parts,
> sections of text that are repeated because of problems representing
> overlap, texts that are encoded in different ways by different people,
> etc. We shouldn't forget that all this is interpretation, not what the
> author wrote. If it was possible to render everything in XML
> graphically one-for-one in print and back again then we would be able
> to build an easy to use GUI for TEI, but we can't.
>
>



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 14:43:24 -0500
        From: "Holly C. Shulman" <hcs8n at virginia.edu>
        Subject: Re:  26.627 XML & what kind of scholarship
        In-Reply-To: <20121228085606.52148F99 at digitalhumanities.org>


As a historian and documentary editor, I am wondering why the decision was
made to render "really" as emphasis rather than as italics or retain them
in quotation marks.  I am fully aware of why you cannot render handwriting
as print or print as electronic type without some sort of editorial
intervention, and at least in my world different editors make different
decisions.  So I'm simply curious about this one as it is not the decision
that I, as an editor, would have made -- with or without any reference to
theory.

Holly Shulman

On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 3:56 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>
>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 627.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                               www.dhhumanist.org/
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 06:24:17 +1000
>         From: Desmond Schmidt <desmond.allan.schmidt at gmail.com>
>         Subject: Re:  26.625 XML & what kind of scholarship
>         In-Reply-To: <20121227095250.0B6DB2D92 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
> Jay,
>
> You seem to be arguing that the process of encoding is somehow neutral
> because "the information in the human brain has to get into the
> machine somehow ... Introducing paper into the process at various
> points seems irrelevant." And you seem to be saying that markup and
> text is all kind of mixed up and indistinguishable both in the
> artefacts we edit and the way we edit them. But I still think that
> distinguishing markup from text, interpretation from fact and analog
> from digital is worthwhile.
>
> Take the example of a 17th century edition of Shakespeare that
> contains an italic word "really". A 21st century digital humanist
> transcribes those black marks on a piece of paper as
> "<emph>really</emph>" in XML. That's an interpretation. The printer
> didn't write that code, didn't use the digital medium, didn't choose
> to mark it with <emph> instead of <hi rend="italic">, etc. On the
> other hand, a 21st century writer who composes a text in which the
> word "really" is encoded natively in his XML as "<emph>really</emph>"
> did in fact write those markup codes, those digital characters. The
> result is exactly the same, but the status of the two digital texts is
> entirely different.
>
> You seem to be saying that it is easy to move from digital to print
> and back again. But is that really true? If you format and print an
> XML text can I recover the XML encoding from the printed artefact? I
> wouldn't have a hope. I could only re-encode that born-digital text in
> XML again through an act of interpretation. Even supposing that you
> had used XML would be an interpretation.
>
> We are going to get very confused if we can't distinguish
> interpretation from the thing being interpreted. Markup added or
> changed by an editor is interpretation, but physical, analog texts,
> like born digital texts, are facts.
>
> Desmond Schmidt
> eResearch Lab
> University of Queensland


-- 
Holly C. Shulman
Editor, Dolley Madison Digital Edition
Founding Director, Documents Compass
Research Professor, Department of History
University of Virginia
434-243-8881
hcs8n at virginia.edu





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